A pair of companion bills has been filed in the Florida Legislature with the goal of granting more rights to renters throughout the state.
“Our landlord-tenant laws have been out of balance for a long time, tipping the balance in favor of landlords,” said Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez, a Miami-Dade Democrat who filed the Senate version of the bill (SB 1794).
“Especially at a time when affordable housing is at a crisis point in our state, we need to make sure tenants are protected as they spend more and more simply to keep a roof over their head.”
Among the provisions in the legislation are requirements to give advanced notice of rent increases, a prohibition on discriminating against prospective tenants based on sexual orientation or gender identity and a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures during a state of emergency.
“I have seen first hand the exploitation of Hurricane Maria evacuees by predatory landlords in our area: unjust evictions, stolen application fees and deposits, and zero housing security during times of crisis,” Smith said.
The legislators say the state’s lack of affordable housing motivated the move to help protect the ability of renters to find, and stay in, an apartment. The bills grant renters a “right of first refusal” to purchase a unit should a landlord decide to sell.
“Our working families cannot thrive without reliable and affordable housing; I’m proud to partner with Sen. Rodriguez on this groundbreaking vision for Florida’s renters,” Smith said.